Abstract: Conservation biology is linked inextricably with systematic biology. The principles of systematic biology, however, have not been integrated completely into the practice and principles of conservation biology. Systematists have recognized for some time that a number of evolutionary processes lead to the diversification of lineages. Yet some present units of conservation, such as the evolutionarily significant unit (Waples 1991), primarily emphasize only one of these processes, adaptation. Allopatric speciation produces biodiversity without requiring any adaptive shift (and consequent adaptive differences between daughter species), so definitions of conservation units that emphasize adaptation may underestimate biodiversity. We estimated the frequency of different modes of speciation for three groups of vertebrates. The frequency of allopatric speciation varies among these groups, but is an important type of speciation in two of the three groups studied. Our results, and the results of other published studies of the frequency of modes of speciation, demonstrate that any unit of conservation defined solely in terms of adaptation is likely to underestimate biological diversity.
Conservation Biology – Wiley
Published: Jun 1, 1999
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